Month: August 2008

August Home Care Guide for the Salem, Oregon area

Home Care:

  • Cooling system (if installed) is working overtime in this month. Make sure the outdoor unit has at least 2 feet on three sides of free air. Keep the fins on the compressor clean as well. Depending on the model of compressor this may be a professional HVAC tech’s job. Keeping your compressor clean will be well worth it in terms of efficiency and life expectancy.

    Bushes are strangling the Compressor

  • Caulking and Paint: This is a wonderful month for these absolutely necessary items on every homeowner’s addenda here in Salem Oregon. A good rule of thumb is, “if the crack is too big to be filled with paint, caulk it.” Sealing the openings in the siding and trim around windows will not only make your home look better it will also prevent moisture from entering the wall system and you will also slow down energy loss from air infiltration. On real wood (trim and maybe siding) in the Willamette Valley think about painting every 4 to 6 years. If you wait longer than 4 to 6 years you risk damage and the preparation for the new paint will take much longer than it would have.
  • Clean gutters: Depending on the age and size of the trees around your home this may be a monthly to quarterly adventure. Even if they just have a little crud in the bottom, get it out. That crud can build up fast at the first nice storm and plug all of the tight bends downstream and underground.

Yard care:

  • Trim bushes: Maintain a space of about 18 inches around your home. Trim the bushes that have grown to have contact with your home. Plant contact with your home can create a very conducive environment for rot and carpenter ants love to travel from a plant in to a home. This should be the last time this year you trim on woody perennials. The trimming will stimulate growth and if you trim too late in the season the new growth will not have time to harden off and it will die.

  • Lawn care: Continue to mow weekly. At the end of this month switch from your summer (primarily Nitrogen) fertilizer to a winterizer (higher in Potassium) to help our cool season grasses establish a deep root system.

When questions on your home arise feel free to call or email me, your friendly home inspector, for trouble shooting and further helpful advice.

Jim Allhiser


Perfection Inspection Inc.



Roofing and Creative home owners

Roofing is one of the few skilled professions where being a licensed contractor is not required if you do it on your own home here in Salem Oregon. Hiring a licensed contractor is definitely encouraged, however a home owner with a little DIY initiative can tackle the job on their own with no distractions (like code enforcement inspections) from the city building department.

A roof shingle system is one of the few things on a home that will wear out. Unlike siding that can be painted and painted and preserved for eons, there is nothing to do about your roof shingles wearing out. There are things to do to extend the roof’s life. Adding ventilation, keeping debris off, treating moss and having a very steep roof will all prolong the life of the roof however even the best ventilated, cleanest, and steepest roof will generally only increase the life of the shingles by 20 years max.

Enter the creative home owner:

One way or another most homeowners will face a roof replacement at some time. Just like most trades you do not have to be a Harvard graduate to install a roofing system. The steps are, overall, very straight forward and logical. The problems most unskilled craftsmen face will be at tricky transitional zones: flashings, valleys, roof-to-wall and the dreaded skylight. It must be a testosterone thing but from what I have seen as a home inspector if problems are encountered they are handled one of two ways: Gallons of roofing tar, or scab-it-in and forget-about-it.

I guess maybe I have seen some roofs that have been replaced by home owners who knew enough to know that they needed some advice. That is what the internet is for as far as I am concerned. Those roofs maybe just flew under my radar mostly because they were done properly. So thank you very much to those homeowners who stopped and asked.